Civil Justice Warriors

How to Identify an Intoxicated Driver

The Signs of an Intoxicated Driver

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can negatively impact your motor skills, reaction time, and overall ability to operate a vehicle in a safe manner. Unfortunately, not only can drunk or drugged driving result in an arrest, but it can also lead to a devastating car accident.

The common signs of impaired driving are often noticeable when a driver is significantly intoxicated. Always being aware of your surroundings while driving can help you keep the roadways safe for you, your family, and others behind the wheel.

What Are the Most Common Signs of Drunk and Drugged Driving?

Failure To Maintain Their Lane

Intoxicated drivers often have issues following basic traffic laws, especially regarding staying within their driving lane or changing lanes.

Common signs include:

  • Drifting from one lane to another
  • Driving with a tire on or over the lane lines
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Making a turn that is too wide
  • And swiping or striking a moving or parked vehicle

Speed Issues

Impaired drivers have difficulty judging speed and distance when on the road.

Common examples include:

  • Excessive speeding (i.e., driving more than 15 or 20 mph above the posted speed limit)
  • Slowly driving (i.e., driving at least 10 mph below the posted limit)
  • Sudden acceleration or deceleration, and driving at different speeds

Brake Problems

Drunk and drugged drivers also have trouble judging distances when stopping.

Common examples include:

  • Stopping too quickly
  • Stopping too far from the line or curb
  • Stopping at an odd angle
  • Making jerky stops
  • Or slamming on the brakes at the last minute to avoid a collision

Impaired Judgment

Whenever you are driving, you must constantly make decisions based on the present road conditions. When you are intoxicated, you often take more risks compared to driving while sober.

Common examples include:

  • Making erratic lane changes
  • Making illegal turns and U-turns
  • Ignoring traffic signs and signals (e.g., running red lights and stop signs)
  • Tailgating
  • Driving in an emergency lane
  • And driving off-road

Lack of Awareness

Intoxicated drivers cannot process information instantly and accurately as sober drivers. Therefore, their awareness and vigilance have substantially deteriorated.

Common examples include:

  • Delayed responses to traffic signals and signs
  • Using the wrong turn signals or failing to use turn signals
  • Driving the wrong way or in the wrong lane
  • Stopping or slowing down for no apparent reason
  • And driving without the headlights on

What To Do When You Spot An Intoxicated Driver

Now that you know how to identify an impaired driver, you may be wondering what you must do to make sure a drunk or drugged driver gets off the road as quickly as possible without endangering yourself and/or others.

Here are three steps to take once you see an intoxicated driver: 

  • Remain far away from the driver – Stay far behind the vehicle as possible to avoid putting yourself at risk of an accident. Do not attempt to get the driver’s attention or pass the vehicle.
  • Memorize the vehicle’s license plate number – Also remember the make, model, color, and other distinguishing details of the vehicle. Please do not endanger yourself while gathering all this information.
  • Call 911 – Whether you have a voice control feature in your vehicle, a hands-free way to make calls, or you need to pull over to make a call, alert the police of the drunk or drugged driver and provide details of your location, such as the name of the city/town where the offense is occurring, the name of the road or highway, the cross streets, and the direction the intoxicated motorist is traveling. Give the authorities a complete description of the vehicle and the reasons why you believe the driver may be under the influence.

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk or drugged driver in Dallas or Houston, TX, call the Dallas personal injury attorneys at Mathias Raphael PLLC Accident & Injury Lawyers at (214) 739-0100 or fill out our online contact form to request a free case review. Our firm also has an office in Chicago, IL!